The cabin smelled musty as I opened the creaky door. “Hey Alice! Did we get the security deposit back from the last renters?” From out in the yard, I could hear Alice pulling her gear out of the trunk.

“Yea, they we’re ok! My parents vouched for them, they were friends from Church, or so Mom said.”

Scanning the debris field of the living room, the Church of Anarchy had some strange ideas of what Ok was, or the local high school kids had broken in and had another party. It wasn’t the first time that I’ve had a heart attack when seeing what shape the cabin was in before the rental; season began.

I could feel Alice’s shadow behind me as she gave a low whistle. “Man, the Barristers left a huge mess. Look at the fire place!” I scanned across the room from the broken chair to the magic marker moustache on Queen Victoria’s portrait that someone had drawn and looked into the fireplace. The rental contract clearly stated that all fires had to be out of doors and that no fires were to be held in the living room fireplace. Either the Barristers or the high school kids had ignored the instructions. There in the hearth was a scorched tricycle and what may have been a doll. There was melted plastic flowing over the metallic seat and dripping like candle wax like stalactites into 3 inches of fine ash in the bottom of the fire place.

I turned to Alice and simply shook my head, “Not the Barristers.” Alice dropped her bags and walked into the chaos of the room, when I heard her suck in her breath.
“Is that…” she started. The pitch of her voice raising an octave with each word. “Is that, my bike?” She knelt down in front of the fireplace and I knelt beside her. I could smell the acrid smell of plastic and I was taken back to my childhood where my brother Stan and I would incinerate hundreds of those tiny green army men as we recreated Armageddon with lighter fluid and M80’s.

It was then she saw the liquefied remains of a doll. “Oh, god no! Is that Mrs. Wilberforce?” I put my hand on Alice’s shoulder and softly whispered “Not anymore.”

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